Crucial relations for tenants and landlords

THE annual Occupier Satisfaction Index Survey questionnaire has just been issued by the Property Industry Alliance.

THE annual Occupier Satisfaction Index Survey questionnaire has just been issued by the Property Industry Alliance.

It is the fourth year it has been run and as part of the alliance, the Rics (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) emails it to commercial practice members.

I find it hugely interesting as it picks up a range of differing views from occupiers based on their experience of working with landlords over the past 12 months.

It helps the industry to identify key areas for improvement and identify good practice where it is happening. Check out for online surveys.

All responses are anonymous and results are aggregated for analysis and dissemination.

If you are a landlord I would suggest that you keep an eye out for the results of the survey. It makes fascinating reading for those in the property business.

You can download the Occupier Satisfaction Survey 2009 from the Rics website at

As a chartered surveyor who has been working at the ‘coal face’ of commercial property in the North East for more years than I care to (or can!) remember, it always amazes me how many landlords and tenants don’t realise their relationship is crucial to their wellbeing.

It’s a message I try hard to get across when talking to small and medium-sized enterprises for Business Link.

The comments from last year’s survey illuminate a world which is often secretive because neither side wants to give anything away.

I think that attitude is unfortunate because transparency always leads to understanding and appreciation of the other person’s point of view.

It’s better than being left in the dark and questioning the legitimacy of your landlord’s or tenant’s parentage!

The general comments from the survey can also serve as a guide to your commercial relationship – is it good or is it bad? – and how you might act in the prevailing market conditions.

Take some of the comments from the 2009 survey, for instance:

The current state of the market has made landlords more flexible. We have seen more monthly rents and the increased availability of break clauses.

More contact from landlords would be good. When we do sit down with a landlord, it can really improve the relationship.

I think landlords have had a big wake-up call in the last few months, as a consequence of which they’ve demonstrated more flexibility and pro-activity.

At least it will confirm your own views about the sector but it could also highlight something in your relationship that isn’t working and provide you with ammunition to turn it around.

Kevan Carrick is a partner in JK Properties and commercial market spokesman for Rics North East


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